Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Willin" by Little Feat - references to Tonopah

We are now in a small town, called Tonopah, in Nevada.
It is a little town, which was founded by a silver seeker around 1900. A music scene in Tonopah? No. But there is one band that refers to the town in one of their famous songs. It's Little Feat's song "Willin", which was recorded in 1971. "Willin" was written by Lowell George, the guitarist and singer of Little Feat, during the time he played with Frank Zappa's band Mothers of Invention.

"And I've been from Tucson to Tucumcari, Tehachapi to Tonopah.
I've driven every kind of rig that's ever been made;
driven the back roads so I wouldn't get weighed."

The song "Willin" was also a reason why Lowell George was kicked out of Mothers of Invention. One explanation why "Willin" caused troubles are the many references to the use of drugs in the lyrics ("weed, whites, wine") - Zappa was anti-drugs.
Another version about George's leaving is that Zappa fired him for playing a 15 minute guitar solo - with his amplifier off.

Never mind, "Willin" brings Tonopah's current fame - even if a little town in Arizona called Tonopah claims that this songs refers to their town...

Little Feat - Willin'

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